Harvey Updyke Trial Delayed in Opelika

By: Kim Allen Email
By: Kim Allen Email
Judge Cites Increased Media Attention for Delay.

Auburn Tigers fan Katy Reynolds takes a photo of the poisoned oak trees near Auburn University at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, Ala., earlier this week. The landmark trees have yellow and brown leaves and bare spots, but several experts say it is still too early to determine whether they will survive an attack that police allege was carried out by a University of Alabama fan who is currently awaiting trial.

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) -- A judge has delayed the trial of an Alabama fan accused of poisoning Auburn's cherished Toomer's Corner oak trees.

Judge Jacob Walker on Thursday cited increased media attention stemming from a report this week that the defendant, Harvey Updyke, confessed outside the courtroom.

Defense attorneys have asked the judge to move the trial to a different location, saying that the jury pool has been tainted. Judge Jacob Walker said Thursday that he would schedule a hearing to consider the request.

The 63-year-old has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

Prosecutor Robbie Treese objected after the judge's ruling and noted that the issue was "invited by the actions of the defendant." But the judge replied that Updyke's interview marked a "very unusual set of circumstances."

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